My surname is Willard.
W I double L A R D. It’s my father’s name. From my father’s family and I’m not very well connected to that side of the family at all. And as far as I know, they’re, you know, they’re Australian, for…going as far back as I know. Which is not very far at all. I would just be speculating that it would be English or from the UK, or, you know, I don’t really know.
No, I don’t feel proud of my surname at all. In fact I feel more towards shame. Because of the relationship that I have with my father, which is not positive and not strong. It’s the only part of him that I have attached to me. So I guess it’s not shame it’s not shame in terms of like personal shame about, I feel shameful about something that I’ve done or a part of me.
So what I have from him is the name. It’s not that heated for me emotionally. It is what it is. I mean, I was given the name at a certain point, so I don’t really…yeah.
But it doesn’t sit completely well with me, you know. And not only him, but his whole family. So he has seven siblings, I think, and they all have all sorts of kids. And you know, I’ve got loads of cousins and aunties and uncles that I just don’t know at all.
I do think about that, and it does feel a bit strange. To identify with that name. I don’t feel like it’s fully me. And I feel like I…if I was more in touch with that side of the family, I would be able to identify with it more. And I’ve even considered changing to my mother’s maiden name for that reason, but I haven’t felt compelled to do so.
So my mother’s maiden name is Darvill, DARVILL. Oh, it sounds like it has a French origin, doesn’t it? Yeah, Rohan Darville. I don’t have a partner at the moment. So, but I definitely wouldn’t be. But well, I can’t envisage myself being in some sort of partnership arrangement that would involve me changing my name. But maybe I would like to, if just… just so that I could find a name that I could associate with I don’t know.
I…because I don’t know my father well, and don’t have much to do with him or that side of the family at all. I don’t, I don’t have any.. I don’t feel invested in continuing the name. And there is something nice actually about feeling a strong sense of identity with your name. So I wouldn’t maybe mind… you know… I don’t know if I would change my name, but, uh, I’d consider it.
I haven’t had many questions about it. I’ve had some comments, people sometimes say that they think it sounds proper, sounds posh or something. I don’t really have that association. But people spend a lot of… a lot more attention to my first name in Spain and in Germany about pronouncing it and trying to understand it. In fact, in Europe, there was more speculation on the origins of my surname, and including from me about maybe it’s German origins, it seems to me like something that might like have ARDT on the end or something like… I don’t know.
I don’t see my association with my sister been through the name. I don’t see the name as significant in that relationship. So it wouldn’t seem… it wouldn’t feel like a loss. And so Willard is how we were always brought up to say it. But occasionally, actually quite often, people who don’t know me will just pronounce it Willad instead. And that produces a response in me. I think you have the choice when someone says it to you, whether you correct them or whether you accept the way that they’ve said it. And sometimes I let it go, I usually actually let it go. I don’t correct. Well, like I asked myself, why didn’t you correct it? You know, did you? What about the fact that they called you in different way did you like and why did you like that? And did it provide you some sort of escape from some part of your identity?